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Fairest Isle - Purcell, Dowland, Byrd, Etc / Barbara Bonney


Release Date: 03/13/2001 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 466132   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John DowlandThomas CampionWilliam ByrdHenry Purcell,   ... 
Performer:  Barbara BonneyJacob HeringmanMarkku Luolajan-MikkolaWendy Gillespie,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  PhantasmAcademy of Ancient Music
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This selection was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for "Best Classical Vocal Performance."

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English song from Dowland to Purcell is a field worthy of any singer's cultivation, yet remarkably few except our own native-bred early music specialists care to interest themselves. Welcome then to one who does. Barbara Bonney has the freshness of style and purity of voice to make an apt contribution, one that can with fair confidence be expected to bring no overload of personality and yet have something personal to add, and also to have at command reserves of feeling that will not spill over or cloy. Sometimes when an American sings English songs there will be anomalies of pronunciation, especially
Read more in vowel sounds, that stick in English ears, but only a little of that occurs here. Perhaps more anxiously one awaits the discovery that, in this two-way traffic, our own bad habits may have been received as signs of authenticity and therefore to be copied. Occasionally there does seem to be something of this: when, for example, in the first song ('Come again') the notes on 'triumph' ('she for triumph laughs') are lightly aspirated; or, in the second ('If my complaints'), individual notes within a phrase are treated to a small but intrusive crescendo. For the most part the authenticity is ensured by habitually good production and responsiveness to text and notes. The programme is well chosen and sensibly ordered. The lute-songs come first, their mood ranging from the epigrammatic humour of 'Away with these self-loving lads' to the haunting melancholy of Campion among the cypresses. Viols take over as the accompaniment with Byrd's fine setting of Sir Philip Sidney's O Lord, how vain are all our delights, and they make delightful counterpoint with the solo voice in Though Anitnyllis dance in green, the intricate syncopations of which regularly floor all but the most assured of madrigal groups. John Jenkins' Fantasia and the two airs from Purcell's incidental music to Mrs Behn's Abdelazer are instrumental pieces and provide a break for the singer at about the halfway-mark. She is then reintroduced with the sublime plaint from The Fairy Queen (good to hear it not taken too slowly), and Dido's lament comes as the unfollowable conclusion.

In between we have a song which gives the recital its name. This 'fairest isle' — and let's hope it is still at least partly recognisable as such — is the country in which the singer has now made her home. The title and choice of repertoire are perhaps chosen as a modest tribute. She is an artist whose work we have long prized, and whom, with her fellow musicians, we will no doubt take further to heart in this most enjoyable programme.

-- John Steane, Gramophone [2/2001]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 17, Come againe, sweet love doth now envite by John Dowland
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 4, If my complaints could passions move by John Dowland
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: English 
3.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 21, Away with these self-loving lads by John Dowland
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 2, Flow, my teares by John Dowland
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
Never weather-beaten saile more willing bent to shore by Thomas Campion
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1613; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
The sypres curten of the night is spread by Thomas Campion
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1601; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: English 
7.
O Lord, how vain by William Byrd
Performer:  Markku Luolajan-Mikkola (Bass Viola da gamba), Wendy Gillespie (Tenor Viola da gamba), Barbara Bonney (Soprano),
Jonathan Manson (Tenor Viola da gamba), Laurence Dreyfus (Treble Vla da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Phantasm
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1623; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
Psalmes, Sonets and Songs: Though Amaryllis dance in green by William Byrd
Performer:  Markku Luolajan-Mikkola (Bass Viola da gamba), Jonathan Manson (Tenor Viola da gamba), Laurence Dreyfus (Treble Vla da gamba),
Wendy Gillespie (Tenor Viola da gamba), Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Phantasm
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1588; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: English 
9.
Abdelazer, Z 570 "Moor's Revenge": Air by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1695; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: English 
10.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: Oh, oh, let me weep "The Plaint" by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
11.
King Arthur, or The British Worthy, Z 628: Fairest Isle by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1691; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
She loves and she confesses too, Z 413 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
13.
Dido and Aeneas, Z 626: Thy hand, Belinda...When I am laid in earth by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1689; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: English 
14.
First Booke of Ayres: It was a lover and his lasse by Thomas Morley
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Jacob Heringman (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: English 
15.
Fantasias (12) à 6: no 9 by John Jenkins
Performer:  Jonathan Manson (Tenor Viola da gamba), Wendy Gillespie (Tenor Viola da gamba), Laurence Dreyfus (Treble Vla da gamba),
Markku Luolajan-Mikkola (Bass Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Phantasm
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
16.
If music be the food of love, Z 379: 1st setting by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692-1695; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

First Booke Of Songes, 1597: 17. Come again: sweet love doth now invite
First Booke of Songes, 1597: 4. If my complaints could passions move
First Booke of Songes, 1597: 21. Away with these self-loving lads
Second Booke of Songes, 1600: 2. Flow my tears
Never Weather Beaten Sail
The cypress curtain of the night
It was a lover and his lasse
O Lord, how vain are all our frail delights
Fantasy No.9
Though Amaryllis Dance in Green
If music be the food of love (First setting: 1692)
Abdelazer: Air
Abdelazer: Air
The Fairy Queen / Part 3: The Sweet Passion: O let me weep, for ever weep
King Arthur, or The British Worthy (1691) / Act 5: Fairest Isle (Venus)
She loves and she confesses too
Dido and Aeneas / Act 3: "Thy Hand, Belinda...When I Am Laid In Earth"

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Barbara Bonney July 25, 2013 By William C. (San Francisco, CA) See All My Reviews "Lovely voice & intimate expression for these early songs. Words easily understood. Accompanied by lutes, viols. The Academy of Ancient music led by Christopher Hogwood on instrumental pieces couldn't be better." Report Abuse
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